The American air travel industry has, in less than a decade, consolidated from nine national carriers to just four today. Between them, American, Delta, Southwest and United control 80% of the market for domestic air travel. Consolidation, combined with cheap fuel, increasingly cramped cabins and a litany of fees, has enabled the airlines to post their highest profits on record — $14.1 billion for the Big Four airlines alone. The industry’s record profits are set to continue as far as the eye can see, and are estimated at $33 billion in 2016, according to the International Air Transport Association.
CFA asks that as the Commerce Committee considers S.2658, the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2016, they support measures to ensure that these profits are not coming at the expense of the wallets, care, and safety of the flying public. To achieve this, CFA urges the committee to strengthen the S.2658 by approving a number of consumer protection amendments.